The Battle of Milk



What is the deal with introducing toddler formula or cow’s milk after 12 months?

Studies have proven the health benefits for providing your child with human milk or fortified milk (formula) until the age of 12 months…but the golden question is…..what happens after???

There is a lot of debate and controversy when introducing milk to babies after 12 months, this is partly due to the vast variety of formula’s in supermarkets. It can be confusing, at times I become over whelmed about what to recommend to mother’s and what is best for their bub.

It is recommended to NOT give your baby any cows milk until 12 months because, their digestive systems are not ready. Cow’s milk contains high amount of protein which can overload their immature kidneys, it also lacks vitamin C, iron and other nutrients for infants which could lead to iron-deficiency anaemia. This is because it is harder to digestive causing blood loss in their stools. So…cow’s milk before 12 months will not provide optimum growth and nutrition for babies.

The concern is after 12 months…what to do?

Many nursing mothers are told they must stop breast feeding and transition straight to cow’s milk after their child reaches 12 months. However, your breast feeding bub is obtaining the best source of milk..mother’s milk providing high amounts of fat needed for brain growth, high iron content and other nutrients! I recommend there is no need to completely stop breast feeding and add cows milk to your toddlers diet as long your bub is breastfeeding at least 3-4 times per day (over a 24 hour period). Just ensure to offer solids before breast feeds or in between meals. If your bub is feeding less, offer cow’s milk.

As your baby progresses and increases intake of solids, it is normal for your bub to breast feed less and start to wean them completely off breast milk. After this stage you bub can start on cow’s milk some babies might he hesitant to start, I would recommend by transitioning them slowly start by adding cows milk to breast or formula, add cows milk to solids e.g. cereals. It could also help by serving cows milk at room temperature. The requirements for dairy is approximately 2 cups per day, if you baby is not meeting this target there are other ways to get into their intake e.g. yoghurt, cheese, cottage cheese, pudding, soups and sauces milk based or fruit milkshakes. Try not to offer too much cow’s milk as a drink as it can lead to iron deficiency anaemia as cow’s milk interferes with the absorption of iron and can decrease the child’s desire for other foods. Offer milk to drink in between meals e.g. morning and afternoon tea.

For babies, full cream/whole cow’s milk is absolutely fine, unless specified by your health professional. Growing babies need the calories and fat in whole milk as they grow and develop. After the age of 24 months you can talk to your child’s health professional about transitioning to reduced fat or non-fat milk. Children with risk of being overweight or have a family history of heart disease, obesity or high cholesterol should consider low fat milk after 24 months.



The 101 guide to your child’s lunch box


A healthy and nutritious lunch box packed with optimum goodness will help keep your children being alert and focused throughout the day. However, no matter how healthy and nutritious the foods you supply, it will not provide any nutritional value if the lunchbox comes back full at the end of the day!

This is your 101 guide to prepare a healthy, nutritious and delicious lunchbox for your children.

1. Aim to provide foods from the 5 ESSENTIAL food group:
1. Fruits
2. Carbohydrate
3. Meat and meat alternatives
4. Dairy
5. Vegetables

For example your child’s daily meal should look similar to this:

Meal Type Food Group Suggestion
Breakfast Carbohydrate + dairy
Morning Tea Fruit + dairy
Lunch Carbohydrate + meat or alternative + vegetables
Afternoon Tea Carbohydrate + dairy
Dinner Carbohydrate + meat or alternative + vegetables
Supper Dairy + fruit

**Click here for practical lunch box ideas for kids** 

2. A WIDE variety of fruit and vegetables

  • Fresh fruit cut and ready to eat. For younger children, avoid choosing whole fruits which are large and they cannot fit in their hand. Fruit salad is ideal, it is colourful, easy to eat and bursting with nutrients and fibre (IF CUTTING FRUIT MAKE SURE YOU SQUEEZE LEMON TO AVOID BROWNING)
  • Avoid fruits with lots of seeds
  • Freeze fruits in the summer
  • Avoid fruit juices/poppers these are filling and packed with sugar! Stick to the H2O…
  • Vegetables are always harder to sneak into kids diet,  offer cutting raw carrots, cucumbers or capsicum in zip lock bags
  • Add left over sweet potato, pumpkin to sandwiches, rolls or wraps
  • Grate cucumber, snow peas, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, avocados for fillings

3. Go for wholesome starchy foods

  • Choose wholemeal, grainy breads, seedy bread rolls, pita bread, lavash bread or wraps
  • To add variety instead of sandwiches e.g. choose a selection of vegetables and cold meat/cheese and allow your child to build their own sandwich
  • If sandwiches are getting boring, try cold pasta or rice salads with grated vegetables

4.Choose a good source of protein

  • Add lean meats to sandwiches or simply rolls of cold meats as a snack e.g. ham or chicken
  • Tinned tuna or salmon (fresh water or canola oil)
  • Boiled eggs

5. Reduced fat dairy food

  • Choose low fat yoghurts, in the summer freeze the tubes of yoghurt so they are cold by lunch time
  • Add cheese and rice crackers

***General Tips***

  • Get your kids involved with the preparation of creating their lunch box, give them options for different fruits or sandwich fillings
  • Avoid treats in their lunch box
  • Try baking healthy muffins or slices (freeze the baked goods!) avoid processed muesli bars or biscuits if possible
  • Use a bright coloured lunch box
  • Be creative and NOT repetitive!

Eating for two…

A common thought when women become pregnant is…. If you are pregnant you can eat for two people right?



Indulging in excessive amount of calories because you think your bub is going to get hungry is just a myth! Eating during pregnancy is more than eating for two. You must also consider the foods you choose to eat. Instead of focusing on increasing the bulk of your diet, you should focus on increasing certain nutrients.

Maintaining the best nutrition for you and your little bub will keep you both healthy. Pregnant women need more protein, iron, folate and iodine but only SMALL increases in calories. On average during pregnancy total caloric increase should be around 300calories which is equivalent to 1 slice of wholemeal bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (Surprising right?!) A normal weight gain during pregnancy is around 10-13kg for women are healthy pre-pregnancy. Gaining to much weight can lead to high blood pressure, joint pain or gestation diabetes.

What are the most important nutrients during pregnancy?

1. Folate, also know as folic acid is part of the B-group vitamins.  Folate is important to reduce the risks of neural tube defects such as spina bifida  During pregnancy the requirements increase to at least 600mcg/day. Meeting the requirements can be through your daily diet by eating broccolli, spinach, chickpeas, lentils and adding fortified foods enriched with folate such as cereals and breads.

*** NOTE: All wheat flour used in bread making in Australia now contain folic acid with the exception of organic bread

Burgen bread, found in your regular supermarkets is a great option! burgenbreads300

2. Intake if of iron increases from 19mg/day to 27mg/day when you are pregnant. This is because your little bub needs iron especially in the first 5-6months. A lot women generally have low stores of iron prior to pregnancy, I would recommend consulting with your GP in regards to commencing a supplement. Foods high in iron include meat especially red meat and green leafy vegetables. Also by consuming high iron sources with Vitamin C will maximise absorption.

3. Iodine is an important mineral which is essential for the production of thyroid hormone needed for growth and developed. Not having enough can lead to mental impairment and cretinism. Foods that are good sources of iodine include seafood and seaweed (including nori and kelp), eggs, meat and dairy products. Women who are pregnant should also use iodised table salt when cooking or adding salt to food.

I would recommend seeking professional advice before commencing a multi-vitamin.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy…..

  • Alcohol – drinking through pregnancy can lead to the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, congenital deformities and effects on the baby’s intelligence
  • Soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert and ricotta
  • Pre-cooked or pre-prepared cold foods that will not be reheated
  • Raw seafood such as oysters and sashimi or smoked seafood such as salmon (canned varieties are safe)
  • Undercooked chicken and eggs

One mouthful at a time

Does your child make your dining experience a nightmare?

After slaving away in the kitchen and presenting your child with a delicious meal does he/she turn their nose up and push the plate away or even throw you food on the floor?

Do you feel you are constantly battling, never wining and want to pull your own hair out, every time you are faced with breakfast, lunch and dinner?


Let me reassure you, that you are definitely not alone in this world. There are so many parents that experience the same issues when it comes to feeding their child…I like to call it ‘fussy eaters’. For parents, meal times can often be the most stressful part of the day. It can be concerning because parents worry their little bubs are not getting all the nutrition they need for optimum growth and their diet is not incorporating all of the 5 food groups.

A common questions parents ask, why is my child fussy with eating?

  • Your child’s appetite could be affected by growth cycles, it is normal from 1-5years of age for your child to be very hungry one day and then picky the next day.
  • Children’s choice of food can change daily, as their taste buds are adjusting. It is normal for your child to like one food for one week and then refuse another
  • Children are active and cannot determine the feeling of hunger and always need prompting
  • Children learn by testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They can be very strong-willed when it comes to making decisions about food, as it can be a way of communicating something else. It’s all part of their social, intellectual and emotional development.

My 8 No-Nonsense Strategies to combat fussy eating:

1. Do Not Bribe:
Never bribe with ‘junk’ food, this will set up bad habits and expectations. It can be the easy route to offer sugary, fatty or salty snacks as substitutes and this could lead to refusing all healthy foods altogether. Children are smart, they know what the tastier options are!

2. Create a pleasant atmosphere during meal times
Try to eat dinner as a family, studies have shown children that eat with their parents have better vocabularies, more concentration, healthier diets and better grades! More importantly, when eating together make meal times enjoyable, fun and social occasion. Serve the family the same foods and create positive actions and talk when eating your meal e.g. how delicious is this chicken and carrot? Your children watching you enjoy foods will encourage them to do the same. It is a good idea to turn the TV off and engage with each other.

3. Independence with foods
Allow your child to choose food choices within a healthy range, offer 2-3 options e.g. what fruit would you like, grapes or bananas? Another good idea is to get your child involved with cooking, allow them to stir or encourage them to look through cook books that are bright.

4. Avoid sneaking in vegetables or fruit
Children are not stupid, they know if you are trying to finely chop carrots into their sauces! I try and tell parents if your child is extremely fussy then start hiding in foods. Firstly, it is a lot of effort for your to continue to grate everything, instead make your child aware of the foods they are eating. Encourage positive language when eating healthy foods and make it fun e.g. cut vegetables or fruits in fun shapes. Worst case scenario, your child refuses EVERYTHING, you will need to hide and sneak the vegies into meals!

5. Encourage food play
Little fingers poking at foods, throwing foods, smell foods will hopefully lead to bringing food to the mouth. Allow your child to get messy during meal times, this will lead to fun and positive environments.

6. The try it once rule
Introduce new foods with familiar foods, e.g. carrots with a piece of broccoli. On their plate add a small portion of a new food, so your child is not overwhelmed. Continue to offer the new food and eventually he/she may try it, for children it can take up to 7-10 times before they bring the food to their mouth….be persistence, do not give up and get frustrated! Allow your child to eat off your plate or eat new foods with other children if possible.

7. Your child with not starve
At the end of the day, children are active! It is hard for parents, to see but if your child refuses food take it away and do not offer a food to the next meal. At the next meal you might find they will be so hungry they will eat all their meal.

8. Work up a appetite 
Hunger is the best sauce. If your child is hungry, they are more likely to appreciate their dinner. Avoid grazing in between meals, offer fruit or vegetables if necessary. Working up a healthy appetite never harmed anyone.

Remember: You are NOT alone, just be calm and breath! And hopefully this will happen…..

Fussy-eater-child_thumb  Equal—> happy-kid